Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014
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Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition

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Research-based curriculum adapts beautifully to fun, easy-to-use app

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-1
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Pros: Rich resource includes a full phonics curriculum for an entire class of students.

Cons: Hefty price tag could put it out of reach of some teachers.

Bottom Line: Thorough, high-quality phonics program offers impressive benefits for emerging readers.

Students can use the app individually, with each student totally engaged and working at his or her own pace, freeing the teacher to pull students for individual reading instruction. The videos could be shown to the whole class, introducing letter sounds or reviewing sight words. The ebooks are frustration-free read-alouds to show kids that they can read. Students can work at their own pace, allowing advanced readers to move more quickly, or teachers could build a semester-long curriculum, covering one step per week.

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Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition includes 12 steps; each teaches rimes and letter sounds to help kids build words. Within each step, videos with catchy songs introduce letter sounds and sight words, and games help kids build words using onsets and rimes. Kids practice reading immediately, starting with step one, using the three ebooks that correspond with each step. Lessons include all letter sounds, plus the rimes -at, -an, -ap, -ad, -am, -ag,  -ig, -id, -ig -ip, -im, -in, -ix, ill, -ot, -op, -ox, -ob, -og, -ug, -un, -ut, -ub, -up, -ed, -en, -et, -eg, and -ell. Adding s to words, the blend -ck, and reviews are also built in. Up to 25 kids can have usernames on each device, with their progress tracked step-by-step. If necessary, teachers can unlock all content at once rather than have kids progess through it sequentially. Rewards and extension sections are accessible by clicking the trophy at the bottom of the screen. Kids earn points by completing lessons and can buy items to embellish their trophies using those points. They can also practice writing sentences or stories using the words covered in the app.

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The step-by-step approach, with reviews built in via songs and ebooks, is very effective for teaching reading. Teachers will appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids will enjoy the variety of delivery -- songs, games, and books -- and the predictability of how each step advances. Though $50 is quite expensive for an app, teachers get a step-by-step curriculum for an entire class of students, which can be reset every year and reused for a new class of students. Differentiation is easy as well, as teachers can unlock all content for students who can already read, allowing them to review at their own pace. Kids can also practice writing using the words in the writing section.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Each of the 12 steps includes catchy songs, funny videos, and learning games to keep kids engaged. Kids earn points to decorate their trophies as they complete the steps.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Teachers can unlock all the content at once or have kids work through each step in order. Steps build on each other, teaching and reinforcing phonics and sight words, and reviewing them with three ebooks per step.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Teachers can track individual progress for up to 25 students, having kids work through steps in order or unlocking the entire curriculum. Kids can extend their learning in the sentence-building section.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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